British Columbia

Send in the army: Officials ask for help as B.C.'s southern Interior braces for 2nd wave of flooding

With flooding expected to worsen over the next few days, officials and politicians in the Boundary region of B.C. are requesting military assistance.

Exhausted emergency workers and volunteers prod Boundary region officials to request military assistance

Floodwater covers a road in Grand Forks, B.C. (Chris Corday/CBC)

With flooding expected to worsen over the next few days, politicians and officials in the hard-hit southern Interior of B.C. are asking for help from the army.

"We are in conversation with our partners at Emergency Management BC to see what resources might be available for us," said Roly Russell, chair of the Kootenay Boundary Regional District. "We feel we could use those resources effectively on the ground."

Community staff say volunteers and emergency workers are exhausted after almost a week of fighting the floods, especially in Grand Forks, Christina Lake, Rock Creek and surrounding rural areas.

Wildfire fighters set up a bladder barrier in downtown Grand Forks. (Chris Corday/CBC)

"People have been working really long hours and it's boiling here — 32 C. They're thirsty, they're tired and they're worn out," said Jessica Mace of the Kettle River Water Authority.

Two public meetings have been called today to update residents with the latest flood information.

Officials will be on hand in Rock Creek at the Rock Creek Fairgrounds from 4 to 6 p.m.

Water surrounds a flooded home in Grand Forks. (Chris Corday/CBC)

In Grand Forks, the meeting will run from 7 to 9 p.m. at Grand Forks Secondary School.

Another town hall was held in Osoyoos Tuesday night.

The waters in Osoyoos Lake swelled late last week, sending water into the streets and into homes.

On Sunday, officials said the Similkameen River was projected to reach historic levels by Friday — potentially pushing several more feet of water into the lake.

Two paddleboarders made their way through flooded Osoyoos on Tuesday. (Jon Hernandez/CBC)

Emergency personnel are reminding the public to remain vigilant. High temperatures are expected to speed the melting of the heavy snowpack, sending a second surge of water down from the mountains in the next few days. 

The regional district is also reminding residents to stay out of evacuated areas for their own safety and to allow emergency officials to focus efforts where they are needed most.

With files from Josh Pagé